Positions on courses in June booked before 31st May have been reduced from $1500.00 to $1250.00 per person. Offer ends 31st May. After 31st May the course fee returns to the normal fee of $1500.00 per person. Dates for courses in May, June, July and August are shown below.

Click here for 2024 course dates

Errol Mason's Hunt Smart ® Training Course

"The Smarter You Hunt, the Luckier You Get"

My Hunt Smart course is an
INVESTMENT IN A LIFETIME of more enjoyable and successful hunting.

"Guide a Man to a Deer and You Feed Him for a Month.
Teach a Man To Hunt and You Feed Him for a Lifetime"

What is the "The Hunt Smart System" ™

The principles of The Hunt Smart System ® are based upon 40 years research into the biology, ecology and behaviour of sambar. Using this knowledge I have devised the most effective tactics for hunting these elusive Big Brown Deer.

Precisely how the complex interplay of light, food, sex, weather, temperature, topography, vegetation and hunting pressure determines what Sambar (and all other creatures) do, and when and where they do it, requires a lengthy highly interactive book to adequately explain.

After six years in the making - in January 2019 we published such a book - "Secrets of the Sambar - The Hunt Smart System ®." Click here to view Contents, Index & Example pages from the book - Click here to view the book product. This comprehensive 464 page manual includes 240 colour plates as well as numerous "Overlays" which are clearly explained using words which explain the wide angle photographs of the landscape and close-up photographs of sambar Errol has taken in that landscape in various conditions. Each photo includes a compass which shows aspect, plus a detailed caption which includes the exact temperature (recorded by Kestrel Weather Meter) the date, time and weather at that moment in time, including changes in temperature and weather as they occurred during the observation - many of which were made over many hours - some from first light until dark. Countless hi-resolution photos and 4K video were taken of these deer.

The most relevant of the close-up photos of these sambar were reduced in size to small orange silhouettes and placed over the wide angle photos of the landscape, so the reader is able to see the deer's precise location in the conditions which existed at that precise moment in time. When you apply these Overlays to your hunting area, they will pinpoint precisely where Sambar will be in the prevailing conditions. This approach takes all the guesswork out of finding these elusive Big Brown Deer. The ability to do this is priceless because it will enable you to locate Sambar and other deer that will have no idea you are there. This will give you time to range the distance, prepare carefully for the shot, then take it at precisely the right moment, helping to ensure that you make a one shot instant kill. "Sambar Shikar" doesn't get any better than that.

However, The Hunt Smart System ® is more easily explained on my Hunt Smart course as most of the time is spent in the bush where the relevant features are all around us. As a result it’s simply a matter of pointing to each - from the valley floor to the ridge line - to the gully floor to the spurline and everywhere in between - whilst explaining the significance of each piece and answering questions to clarify things.

You get to examine tracks and faecal pellets which will leave you in no doubt as to whether they are fresh or otherwise.

If one picture is worth a thousand words, consider the value of being instructed in the bush where you are shown a thousand wide angle and close-up “pictures” - far more than can be published in even the largest book - from many different vantage points in semi-open to dense habitats.

To “top it off”, usually we watch undisturbed Sambar - and occasionally a Big Stag like the star of our "Secrets of the Sambar" You Tube video or the videos posted on our SOTS Facebook page.

Research shows that "hands on" people such as tradies, fencing contractors, arborists and farmers all learn best by "seeing and doing" - also known as "kinesthetic" learning.

Why my Course is not a Guided Hunt

My Hunt Smart Course is not a Guided Hunt because:

  • Training requires constant verbal tuition which cannot be done during a Hunt because the human voice spooks Sambar and other deer; plus
  • Once a deer is shot, an enormous amount of teaching time is lost due to the many hours required to recover venison and capeing.
  • In addition, once a deer is dead you learn little compared to what you learn whilst observing live deer. Course participants are always amazed at how much they learnt from watching unalarmed sambar.

Strong Demand for Sambar Training

After publishing Secrets of the Sambar Trilogy and The HSS I thought I had provided so much information that no one would ever need to attend my Training Course, but the reality is the exact opposite. Demand has soared - especially from tradies and those engaged in "hands on" occupations who learn best by seeing and doing. Nevertheless, those who read the trilogy and the HSS before attending seem to get the most from our course. As the saying goes - "Knowledge is Power."

Dense Forest In-Close Hunting V Cross Gully Hunting

During my Hunt Smart training course and in our Hunt Smart System book I teach you what you must know to hunt cross gully. But I also teach you how to successfully hunt dense forest which requires you to know how to hunt "In-Close."

Many of the stags taken by clients who I fully guided harvested their stags and hinds in dense forest where - due to the extremely thick foliage - it was impossible to see across any gullies. Charlie Mitchell from Perth - for example - killed a "cracker" with one shot from just 24 paces.

In addition - using in-close tactics - many training course participants also harvested trophy stags and hinds for venison in dense forest. One - a bowhunter killed a stag from less than 30 yards, whilst Chris a rifle hunter from NSW shot his from just 40 yards. See Fully Guided and Training Course Success Stories for the distance many were shot from.

Sambar Behaviour is tied to a "Basic Genetic Blueprint."

As a result all Sambar behave similarly irrespective of whether they live on the farm fringe, in remote forested mountain country, or on the subalpine plateaus.

It doesn't matter whether you backpack into remote areas such as the Wonnangatta at 450m elevation, Howitt Plain at 1300 - 1650m or hunt the foothill farm fringe country at 200m elevation, OR use a Gundog or Hunt with a Bow - if you apply my "The Hunt Smart System ®" you are guaranteed to become a much more successful and satisfied hunter, because not only will your success rate soar, but because you found that deer by applying knowledge - not by stumbling upon it by dumb luck. That makes a "world of difference" in terms of satisfaction. "Knowledge Really is the Real Trophy."

Because Sambar Behaviour is tied to a "Basic Genetic Blueprint" they behave the same, regardless of where they live - although due to constant interaction with hunters and other humans - farm fringe Sambar and those living in other heavily hunted areas - usually possess much more developed survival skills than those living in remote areas where they are likely to experience comparatively few interactions with hunters.

The sambar's "Hierarchy of Needs" and how they use each habitat type, and each microclimate, is exactly the same no matter where they live. It's precisely the same in the Subalpine, Wonnangatta, Moroka or on our farm fringe country, or in New Zealand, in India and Sri Lanka or other countries in south Asia where they evolved and continue to exist.

Although the chance of taking a trophy stag is likely to be higher in remote areas - from a hunting point of view, the main difference between backpack hunting compared to vehicle based hunting, is that a backpacker must know what equipment to carry, be fit enough to carry it into remote country, then be fit enough to hunt for the several days afterwards, and at the end of the hunt, be able to walk out again hopefully with his pack laden with venison and trophy antlers.

The overlays that a backpack hunter and a vehicle based hunter apply are the same. See the chapter "Backpacking" in The Hunt Smart System book for tips and tactics which will help to ensure that your backpack hunt is safe, enjoyable and successful.

Hunting With a Utility Gundog

The Hunt Smart System training course and book teaches you how to pinpoint where the deer are most likely to be at various times of the day. This knowledge is vital for every Sambar hunter, including those who hunt with a gundog because it is essential that you know where to place your dog so it can smell the deer. If your dog isn't downwind of a thermal carrying the deer's scent, your dog has little to zero chance of finding it.


Many who attend my course are bowhunters. During the course I show bowhunters (and rifle hunters) where to place ground hides and the "do's and do nots" when building them and permanent tree stands. I also discuss how to build them. Participants are given the opportunity to sit in a portable aluminium ladder tree stand.

In addition, I show them simple things they can do to ensure that the shot from their hide or stand is no longer than 30 metres. Plus I show them how to get to their stand via a low impact route so they greatly reduce the chance of spooking deer.

Other Species

I have received feedback from many hunters who have also used my Hunt Smart system to successfully harvest Red, Fallow, Hog, Chital and Rusa, and even pigs, goats and foxes.

There is literally an endless amount of knowledge which can be learnt about Sambar.

The following 10 Sambar Stag Hunt Smart Success Stories were all taken on Backpack Hunts in remote areas.

#1 Brett Cooke - harvested a magnificent stag after backpacking into a remote area less than 24 hrs after attending the course; Click here to view this testimonial

#2 Mark Walker - took his first stag as it lay in its bed 4 weeks after the course; Click here to view this testimonial

#12 Peter Russell - took his in a remote area soon after the course. See Pete's story in Issue 6 of our mag. In 2016, once again by applying The Hunt Smart System ®, Peter took another 30 incher in an extremely remote area. Click here to view this testimonial

#14 Greg Young; Click here to view this testimonial

#19 Matt Appleton - 3 days after attending our course Matt harvested a monster stag in the sub-alpine. See his story in the chapter "Australia's Top Stags" in SOTS Vol 3. Click here to view this testimonial

#21 Leon Alexander - yet again, another stag taken in a remote area. Click here to view this testimonial

#25 Matt Sheffield - shot his 33 incher in a remote area kilometres from the nearest farm fringe. Matt tells how he did it in "The Big Fella" p. 48, Issue 3 SOTS magazine. Click here to view this testimonial

#48 Luke Myers - harvested this stag on a solo backpack hunt into a very remote area. Luke tells how he did it in "My Perfect Solo Mission" Issue 13 SOTS magazine. Click here to view this testimonial

#53 (3 Stags) - Luke Myers - harvested these 3 stags on backpack hunts into remote areas. Click here to view this testimonial

Within weeks of attending our course, ADA Vic State President Col Brumley harvested his first stag during a Backpack Hunt. See Col's stag and read his story at p.100, Issue 2, Secrets of the Sambar magazine.

These Success Stories plus many many more which can be seen on our website prove beyond any doubt that my Hunt Smart ® System works anywhere, anytime.

CLICK HERE to view more Success Stories

The Hunt Smart System ® is Based upon the 90/10 Rule of Predictability

What I teach is based upon 90/10 rule of predictability.

It's what I have identified as being clear trends in Sambar behaviour.

10% may break the rule – but your hunting will be much more successful and enjoyable if you hunt with a 90% chance.

Some hunters say Sambar are where you find them. My research proves this statement is at best incorrect - and at worst it is misleading. Sambar are always where they are the most comfortable and secure in the conditions. As conditions, especially the weather is constantly changing so you must know where the deer will be in various weather conditions and temperature range. Teaching this is one of the many great strengths of my course.

Aim of My Hunt Smart System

The aim of my 'Hunt Smart System' is to enable you to find Sambar "that have no idea you are there." This will give you time to range the distance, adopt a steady shooting position, then take the shot at precisely the right moment resulting in an instant one shot kill.

Once you have attended my course you will never approach sambar hunting the same way again. When you get up in the morning the first thing you will do is carefully plan your hunt, rather than simply putting on your daypack, grabbing your rifle and wandering off into bush hoping to bump a deer. The Hunt Smart System ® teaches you how to plan each days hunt subject to the weather conditions and temperature at first light and the level of hunting pressure.

Remember this old but true adage: "If you fail to plan you plan to fail".

View Course Dates

View Course Details

Click here to read Hunt Smart Success Stories Click here to read reviews of the Course View the Training Course Sambar Sightings

2024 Hunt Smart Course Dates and Availability

NOTE: if on mobile, please swipe the table to the left to see more information.
May 3rd - 5th FULLY BOOKED
May 17 - 19 FULLY BOOKED
31 May to 2nd June FULLY BOOKED
June 14-16 7 Positions Available
June 28-30 1 Position Available
July 12-14 7 Positions Available
July 26-28 7 Positions Available
August 9-11 7 Positions Available
August 23-25 7 Positions Available
September 6-8 7 Positions Available

Training Course Certificates

Training Gift Certificate

Give your loved one a Gift Certificate for a weekend with Errol Mason at his highly regarded 3 day Hunt Smart® Sambar Training Course.

Cost $1500.00 $1250.00 (recession breaker discount) including GST

To purchase a Gift Certificate select one of the purchase options on this page. In the checkout form there is an ‘additional information’ field - please use that field to let us know your payment was a Gift, who it was for and any other relevant information.

The Smarter You Hunt, the Luckier You Get!

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